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Public is losing faith in scandal-ridden sports

Public is losing faith in scandal-ridden sportsA survey in Britain has shown that one third of UK people with even less confidence in sport than they had a year ago. This especially after a string of doping and corruption scandals worldwide.

Faith in administrators who run sporting organizations and the athletes themselves has been corroded by further revelations of corruption within FIFA and the doping suspicions that continue to dog Team Sky and Sir Bradley Wiggins.

This survey on 2,000 people found that one third believe their “trust in the sport industry has declined in the last 12 months”. The research appears at the heart of a new report on the future of sport seen by the prestigious diary The Guardian and published on July 5th by the strategic communications consultancy, the Brewery at Freuds.

Although recent doping scandals mainly involve athletics and cycling, it is soccer the one fans trust the least – 36% of the consulted said they do not trust the sport at all. This damning indictment of the state of national game derives from the corruption at the heart of the world governing body, FIFA.

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Some of those surveyed stated feeling disenfranchised, with the money at the top of the game failing to translate into cheaper ticket prices for fans. 74% agreed that sports today are more “concerned with making money than providing entertainment and enjoyment for their fans”. This, ultimately, implies a threat to the sport industry, as one in four fans said that recent events make them less likely to attend a match and three in 10 saying they would be less likely to buy merchandise. A disconnection between multimillionaire players and those on the terraces is perceived, and was also cited as a reason for distrust.

However, there were some encouraging findings. A large majority recognized the important role sport can play in society. More than three quarters (77%) claimed to see elite sport as inspirational and 73% say the diverse backgrounds of sport stars in the UK today is a celebration of a multicultural society. Seven in 10 (71%) believe sport is a force for good.

Tanni Grey-Thompson, a contributor to the report, comments: “Sport has to work harder than ever to safeguard its reputation and to maintain the special relationship it has with fans. This report demonstrates that this is a time of huge change – and opportunity – across the industry. It is vital we all continue to examine what more needs to be done.”

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